Monday, September 20, 2010

It’s on my bucket (or should I say STEIN??) list

Guess what kicked off this weekend in Munich, Germany?

I’ve been to Germany plenty of times, and even stayed twice at the Uhland Hotel (which is a half-block from the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest is held each year), but I have never been to the Oktoberfest itself.

But one of these days, I am determined to go!  This particular celebration is in my blood.

Who wants to join me?!

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hawaiian Meditation (and Anticipation!)

With the next seven weeks promising to be extremely busy at work, and with the Fall pressure of three kids in college (room, board, tuition, laptop replacement, etc., times three), I have a feeling I’ll be visiting this video often.  Join me any time you want!

Tom’s usually the one to  escape into anticipated upcoming adventures, while I’m normally the one who plays travel agent, making plans and dealing with logistics.  With our upcoming trip to Kauai and Oahu, however, I find myself visiting “his” territory more and more!

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Endlich! Ein gutes Deutsches Restaurant in Seattle!

(That’s “Finally!  A good German restaurant in Seattle!”)

This is NOT a review for Feierabend “German” restaurant in downtown Seattle.  If it were, it’s say something like “the spätzle tastes like cardboard, the waitress can’t speak a word of German (nor does she care -- or try), and the ambiance seems phony.”

And this is not a review of our own German cooking.  If it were… well here and here and here and here and OMG – HERE!

(We have never found sauerbraten or spätzle that even comes close in deliciousness to our own sauerbraten and käsespätzle – not even in Germany!  And believe me, we looked, and tasted – all over Germany!  Conceited, perhaps --but oh, so true!)

This is a review of Bratz’s German Restaurant in Seattle’s University district.  In a word (or two), “Lecker schmecker!!” 


The food was excellent, genuine German food, personally prepared and served by the very friendly owners, John, Robert, and their mother Veronicka, from Zweibrücken, Germany. 


After we placed our orders, we we enjoyed the genuine ambiance of this relatively small, but very cozy place.


(There’s a German TV feed on one TV and German soccer on another.  How can you NOT feel like you’re in Germany?  I like this better than Polka music playing over some Musak speakers.)


Not too long after we ordered, Friendly John brought us our food…


Aleks and I had the Jägerschnitzel which is referred to as “Hunter’s Schnitzel” on the menu, but hey John, I think you should be genuinely German and list it with it’s real name!)


It was excellent!  The rotkraut was perfect – just like Mom’s.  The schniztel was perfectly crispy with a just-right gravy, and the spätzle was quite good.  Not like ours, because apparently no one on earth can make it like we do.  But quite good.

Kat had the Wienerschnitzel Pretzel (or as my mom used to call it, “Bräääääää-tzl”)…


…and Tom had the Wienerschnitzel:


(I just love the touch of the Bavarian paper!)

We all agreed that the whole experience – from the food to the atmosphere to the people, was first-rate!


(How often do you see an expression like that on Tom’s face?!  Or like that on Kat’s face? “No more pictures, Mom… I want to EAT!”)

Next time (and there will definitely be many next times), I’ll have to try the rouladen, which my mom used to make at least a few times a month!


(Truth be told, I was afraid that would make me cry, because I haven’t had it since Mom died, and you know how taste and smell can bring back memories…)

Just like I did in my childhood, though, I’d ask them to hold the pickles.


Bratz is at 4759 Brooklyn Ave NE in the University District.  Blink, and you’ll miss it. 

And missing it would definitely be a mistake!

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

A thought to ponder on 9/11

If the people of our country truly held by the important American principle of of freedom of religion for all (not just for the religion with which one identifies), it shouldn’t matter whether the building being considered two blocks from Ground Zero were a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or a “thought center” for atheists.


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Friday, September 10, 2010

Baby Fix!

Our neighbors were kind enough to go on a date this evening, allowing me a very much needed baby fix!

Introducing the cutest baby in the world, Abby!  Now this baby is seriously CUTE!  And what a total girly-girl actress!  See?  She’s waving hello to you…


(Kat used to do adore herself in the mirror like this!  Her best friend at this age was her own image in the mirror.  Aleks, on the other hand, was completely bored by his reflection and seemed to look right through it.)

And now she’s waving a backwards good-bye to you…


(But a backwards good-bye is still hello, so stick around!)

Abby and I played and chatted and had high tea for a few hours this afternoon.  I was in heaven!


OK, I lied about the high tea.  That’s actually drool, poor teething princess!  Or rather, sweet, HAPPY teething princess.

What a happy, easy-going baby!  I am absolutely goo-goo over this baby doll!


And I’ll bet after seeing this, you will too!

I was so sad when Tom saw me on our neighbor's porch, babe in arms, and promptly announced, “You do realize that you’ll eventually need to give her back, right?”

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Dad’s nest is empty

Poor Tom.  He’s empty nesting and having a really hard time of it. 

Tom has never been an authoritarian, demanding, or controlling father in any way.  In fact, I can count on one hand the times that I’ve heard him really yell at any of the kids.  Instead, he’s been the really great friend who, through just being who he is, has commanded respect from his kids and who has spent vastly more time being goofy with them over the past 20-some years than being authoritarian with them. 


It’s just how he rolls.


And, since the kids have been older, Tom’s received a nice dose of good-natured teasing from them as well.


The kids are grown now and living lives of their own and, although at least one of them is home most weekends, it’s pretty dang quiet around here during the week.  While I make a point of remembering back to the chaotic days when we had four kids under the age of five and evenings were filled with four baths, four bedtime stories, and at least one noisy sibling argument, the stillness and quiet of our current evenings seem to genuinely depress Tom.


It’s just too peaceful and quiet around here without them and Tom sometimes seems like a puppy in search of the rest of the litter.


I try not to take it personally but the truth is, I’m NOT as much fun as the kids.  I spend most evenings writing and reading (mostly online) and cooking and tidying and doing laundry. 

I really am boring, it seems. 


Last night I asked Tom if he wanted to play a game.  Maybe Upwords or Rumikub?  (My parents played games all the time – just the two of them.)  But he didn’t want to play a game and we ended up changing the sheets on the bed instead.

Then he fell fast asleep.

Tom Kat silly 11 04

I’m not sure how to fix this for poor Tom.  The kids most likely aren’t going to be moving back home again for any appreciable amount of time – and that’s the way it should be.  When you raise strong, smart, independent kids they tend to go off and build strong, smart, independent lives of their own.  


Before they left home (and remember, three of them left withinonemonth!) everyone, including me, assumed that I’d be the one who’d struggle most with an empty nest.  But I think Tom’s struggle is actually a testament to his wonderful parenting, and to his great kids who have loved him and filled his life with great joy -- and who will continue to do so, even if they don’t live under the same roof anymore.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Time to choose? Blogging or Facebook?


Last weekend, when I went to my 35th high school reunion and visited with extended family, I both Facebooked (it’s a verb!) and blogged the experiences.  Facebook updates were fast and easy, while blogging took more time.  Since the information and the photos were essentially the same, it really felt redundant.

I used to blog quick single thoughts, like this and this and this, but these days I use Facebook for that.  I don’t use Facebook for recipes or for long rants or raves or for deeply introspective writing – but for some reason that I can’t really pinpoint (other than simply being busy), I don’t write those posts anymore – though I wish I did.  I miss writing, of the really writing sort.

So I’m befuddled: should I continue to make an effort to blog often (it’s never really been an effort until recently!), should I let my blog die a natural death, or should I do something in-between?  (Like what?)

Are you a social media addict who’s been faced with this predicament?  What did you decide, and why?  Do you have any advice for me?

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